Nusra Threatens New Execution as Govt. Says Ayyad Release Can't be Compared to Arsal Captives Caseإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front threatened Thursday to execute one of the captive servicemen if the Lebanese government does not start what it called “serious negotiations.”
“We warn the Lebanese government, which is subordinate to the party of Iran (Hizbullah), that we will kill one of the 'prisoners of war' who are in our custody within 24 hours, if it does not start negotiations in a serious manner,” al-Nusra said in a statement published on the twitter account of its Qalamun branch.
“If the government wants to prove its seriousness in regards to continuing the negotiations, it must release Muslim sister Jumana Hmayyed as a goodwill gesture and must then start implementing the proposal it had chose for the swap process,” the group added.
Hmayyed was arrested near Arsal in February while driving a booby-trapped car that entered Lebanon from Syria's Yabrud region.
“If the government does not comply, we will carry out our threat and will change the proposals we had suggested in our previous statement,” al-Nusra said.
The group has recently said that the 3-month hostage crisis would end if 10 inmates held at Lebanese prisons would be freed for each hostage or seven Lebanese inmates and 30 female prisoners held in Syria would be released for each abducted soldier and policeman or if five Lebanese and 50 women inmates would be freed.
The Lebanese government had previously rejected any swap deal with the jihadists but it has recently accepted one of al-Nusra's options according to media reports.
In its Thursday statement, al-Nusra claimed that “everyone has realized that (Hizbullah) is the only party obstructing the negotiations over the (captive) servicemen, while claiming to be keen on the release of its own captives, the last of whom was Imad Ayyad.”
Al-Nusra was referring to a Hizbullah captive freed on Tuesday in a swap deal with the rebel Free Syrian Army which involved the release of two FSA members.
The Qaida-linked group noted that Ayyad was not released through “honorable negotiations or a heroic operation,” pointing out that Hizbullah “exploited the presence of Muslim sisters in regions it is occupying in Syria in order to arrest them and threaten their families with rape, torture and murder.”
“Their families were the ones holding … Imad (Ayyad) and they are loyal to a FSA group,” Nusra said.
Shortly after Nusra released its statement, the relatives of the Lebanese troops and policemen warned that they will block all of Beirut's entrances at 8:00 am Friday.
Earlier on Thursday, the government refused to compare the release of Hizbullah's detainee Ayyad to the case of the servicemen kidnapped by Nusra and the Islamic State in early August.
The policemen and soldiers were abducted during deadly clashes with the Lebanese army in and around the Bekaa border town of Arsal. A few of them have since been released, three were executed, while the rest are still kidnapped.
“The release of the Hizbullah member cannot be compared to that of the Arsal captives,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij said after a cabinet session.
The families of the captives have repeatedly accused the government of failing to exert enough efforts to release them.
They voiced their frustration earlier this week when Hizbullah succeeded through negotiations to secure the release of its captive Ayyad.
The cabinet session also tasked a ministerial committee to follow up on food safety in Lebanon, added Jreij after the meeting at the Grand Serail.
The committee will coordinate its efforts with the government, municipalities, and other agencies in order to address the food safety issue and offer its recommendations in the case, he explained.